Singapore

Ideas from public workgroup aim to help Singaporeans 'recycle right'

A mobile application that provides incentives and discounts to motivate customers to take their own containers to "dabao" (take-away) their food, instead of using single-use plastic containers.

And transparent recycling bins that let people see what they are throwing into them, with eye-level signs to remind them to clean and dry their items before throwing them away.

These initiatives are two of the nine ideas that 45 members of the public came up with in a month, as part of a workgroup on "recycling right" organised by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).

The fourth and final session of the workgroup was held yesterday at the MEWR building in Scotts Road.

The nine teams submitted their reports in the afternoon for consideration by MEWR and the National Environment Agency.

Marketing manager Lee Peilin, 36, told The Straits Times that her team had proposed the development of a mobile application that gives incentives such as discounts to people who use their own containers for take-away food items.

The app would involve merchants keying in a pin code to register users who bring their own containers instead of using single-use containers.

Meanwhile, Mr Lim Chwen Liang, 55, said his team proposed the idea of transparent bins to replace Singapore's current blue recycling ones.

"We found that blue recycling bins were full of contamination, which makes whatever is in the bin unable to be recycled," he said.

Other proposals included a suggestion to use community influencers to motivate people to recycle only clean and dried items, and a deposit-and-recycle system for beverage containers.

COMMEND

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources, commended the workgroup on its efforts to address the challenge of convincing more Singaporeans to recycle right.

"Our domestic recycling rate has stagnated at 20 per cent for a while," she said.

"This is a real challenge, and we are hoping some of the ideas raised can improve the recycling rate."

COMMUNITY ISSUES